Morphic Resonance

Francis Breakspear

The quality of mercy is not strained... that would account for it's inconsistency

I’ve been reminded in conversation of a report from the news around 5 years ago: it concerned reports that sheep have been using daring SAS-style tactics to cross cattle grids to reach greener pastures, and these were being used to support a controversial biologist's radical new theory on transmission of animal behaviour.

Sheep in the New Forest had been seen co-operating to get into gardens. Some laid down on the cattle grids, making a "bridge" to allow the others to cross. This is not so far from the home of the UK Police version of the FBI- a collection of scientists etc who are based together in Hampshire to research national crimes- maybe these sheep were escaped super-intelligent research sheep or something… but since the 1980s, reports of similar behaviour have come from Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales and the Malmoehus region of Sweden, among other places.

Dr Rupert Sheldrake, a former research fellow at Cambridge University, said this may not be coincidence but evidence of "morphic resonance", by which creatures communicate the benefits of their experiences to others without direct contact- a kind of subconscious telepathy, if you will.

Most scientists regard the morphic resonance idea with suspicion. The prestigious journal Nature once described Sheldrake's book on the subject as "fit for burning", which is a nice, balanced and objective view from the premier scientific publication (not)- reminiscent of what the Americans did to Wilhelm Reich . But Sheldrake argues that evidence for its existence is mounting.

The most famous example is in blue tits' taking the foil off the top of milk bottles to get at the cream. The first record of this habit was from Southampton in 1921, and its spread was recorded at regular intervals from 1930 to 1947… accelerating and spreading to Sweden, Denmark and Holland. But tits do not usually venture far - 15 miles is exceptional, and at no point is the sea between the U.K. and continental Europe this narrow. Spooooky!

To add weight to his ideas it should be noted that the activity spread ACROSS species, as quickly-, other birds doing the same, and the geographical spread within each species was about as rapid as the tits too, which cannot be explained away by psychological learning models of simple observation and copying.

Sheldrake says morphic resonance can also affect humans. The rise in people's scores in standardised IQ tests decade on decade could be seen to match his predictions, as could the rise in A-Level success rates: or both-either could be seen as a glitch in the statistics… in any case, IQ itself has a few problems, as a lot of the initial research is deeply flawed and fabricated (see separate article by Kate Hoolu on Sir Cyril Burt, coming soon)

One wonders what the birds are doing now that people either don’t have milk delivered so much, or it arrives in tough plastic containers. Cue a blackbird armed with a penknife perhaps…

Yeah, morphic resonance is a bit of a weird one; it sounds plausible, but seems to rely at least in part on some sort of psychic transference; which scientists find hard to swallow.... Sheldrake is renowned as a bit of a hippy, so finds it easier to deal with; I try to keep an open mind, but it is a very compelling idea, and fits in with a lot of magical theories about how a ‘link’ is made and utilised when spellcasting…

Thoughts, anyone? contact


Dr Sheldrake can be found at